Toy Photography Starter Set

Recently The LEGO Group offered a free toy photography starter set with a minimum purchase. Why am I calling it a toy photography starter set? Because this cute little set has everything the budding toy photographer needs to take fun photos while on vacation!

This set resembles an older set (LEGO #7567, The Traveler) and might be confused for a simple update. It wouldn’t be the first time The LEGO Group has updated an older set. But, if you’re a toy photographer, you will see this set for what it really is: a toy photography starter kit! If there was any doubt that the LEGO Group wants to support and encourage our crazy little hobby, this should erase all doubts.

What Makes this a Starter Kit?

What makes this a LEGOraphy starter kit and not a redo of an older set are all the accessories; accessories only a toy photographer would need. This isn’t a cute little mini figure with his bags heading to the airport; this guy is ready for some serious toy photography adventures. This 41 piece set, in the shape of a suitcase, comes with everything you need to take fabulous toy photos. It doesn’t matter if you’re on vacation, or a staycation, you will find plenty to inspire you.

Not only will you receive the usual summer accessories like a suitcase, scuba gear, surfboard, ice cream cone, lounge chair, umbrella, red mug and camera. You will also receive a selfie stick, a tripod and a clear rod for more advanced photos. This clear rod will make those advanced flying shots a breeze!

If there was any doubt this is LEGO’s way of promoting LEGOraphy, the included photo album will surely convince you. This fun little book is filled with 27 photos designed to inspire your own photographic adventures.

Whats for dinner?

One of my favorite details of this set is the use of the classic LEGO face. There is something very sweet and simple about this face that makes it perfect for any situation. Even one that is death defying!

Oh no!!!!!

My only criticism of this set is the hat. I would much rather they have included two different hair styles instead. By including a ‘male’ and ‘female’ hair, the photographer can customize the figure to best represent their own personality.

Now What?

If you happen to be shopping on LEGO.com or your local LEGO store, you may have received one of these free sets with your purchase. If you have an extra set, why not gift it to a friend or child who’s interested in toy photography? Lets take this promotion from LEGO and spread the toy photography love! Who isn’t going to fall in love with this set and want to take this little guy (or gal) out on a summers worth of adventure; both at home and on the road.

Thank you LEGO for helping us to spread the LEGO photography love! Its great to have your support for this fun and exciting hobby!

Shelly

Did you receive a toy photography starter kit? What did you think? 

(A hat tip to community member LizzyBelle9 for pointing this out to me. Even though I have two sets, I hadn’t made the connection!)

I used the plastic ‘wand’ to help me create this snorkeling photo in my pond.

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Packing Pickle

Yep, it’s that time again. The time I spend hours agonising over what to pack, and what not to pack, for a brickstameet, a LEGO photography trek around the streets of Melbourne.

As I’ve mentioned before, I live near the coast. I know the beaches, I know their tides, their cliffs and their light, and I know what works with them. Packing for a trip to the beach is easy. And even if I forget something, there’s only a short drive back home to gather the forgot, or there’s always the next day.

Travelling beyond a short car trip throws up the added quandary of not wanting to leave anything behind. Plus, I’m shooting in a different environment. The urban landscape of Melbourne presents me with another pickle. “Sorry Dewbacks and Tusken Raiders, you won’t be required this time!” Or will they?

Light up the wheels and go for broke
Stomp that pedal with a sniftin’ stroke
Smack that roadblock caught in a pickle
I’m gonna hit that line like old Dick Trickle
Ween – Stroker Ace

If this wasn’t enough

And if this wasn’t enough, I’m heading to Melbourne the day before to be the “official welcoming party” for out international and interstate visitors. That’s one less day to pack, one less day to agonise over choices, one less day to apologise to those who don’t make the cut! 

Double the indecision

So, with less time to pack, plus having to pack for an overnight stay, I also want to subvert the LEGO regime by taking other toys to shoot. That’s doubled my indecision. Is it possible to be twice as indecisive?

Been so long since I been gone
Ziplock bag holding my comb
Beck – Ziplock Bag

By the time this gets published, it’ll be Wednesday morning here, and with only two nights left to pack before I head to Melbourne for the brickstameet, I know damn well I’ll be no closer to finalising my selections than I am right now. Seriously, you’d think after four of these, I’d know what to pack?

brickstameet: Packing Pickles
Packing Pickles

Wish me luck!

– Brett

How do you choose your travel buddies? Does your destination dictate your choices?

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The joy of creativity

Right now, I’m more in love with my printer than my camera. This is a huge departure from where I was three years ago when I wrote: “For the pure joy of the photograph”. I’ve grown a lot as an artist in the last three years and my joy of photography has expanded to a more inclusive joy of creativity.

In my original post I talked a lot about the thrill of photography. I wanted to take photos and not actually “do” anything with them. I referenced Vivian Maier and her well know habit of taking hundreds of rolls of photographs and not developing them. The act of taking a photo was more important (easier?) than developing, printing and exhibiting her work.

I know the feeling. Three years ago my primary objective was taking photos. Exploring my environment through toys was my only goal. There is a pure joy to the photographic process. I was more than happy to simply have fun.

Recently Kristina asked: ”When is an image finished?” I can relate to her dilemma. I think all creatives can. Setting up a particularly photo and seeing the beauty of the light, the image, the story, is addicting. The act of creating by taking photographs, feels good. It feels so good, in fact, that its sometimes hard to stop. What I’m learning now is that it feels good to be creative in other ways too.

While I still experience the joy of creativity, I seem to be moving away from focusing on the click of the shutter.  I want to develop the images further then ever before. Editing is more important due to the effort and time of alternative processes.  Printing my works and presenting them is my current challenge. There are boxes of paper and spare ink begging to be used. My shop is filled with boards to be prepped and images to be mounted. July 15th is right around the corner!

I love taking photos, but my creative drive is shifting in new directions. I’ve spent time organizing my web site into albums. I’m also curating images into a semi-cohesive group for a cafe show. By doing these activities I can see where I need to focus my creative energies. I now see glaring holes in my portfolio which helps me in the decision making process.  Which images should I photograph next? With the help of Jennifer’s G+ challenge I’m also looking at my ‘near misses’ to see if they can be salvaged.

An image from 2015 which I’ve always loved, but why does the pond have to be so dirty??
A new version taken in my back yard. Im not there yet, but this image gives me hope. 🙂

Sometimes being creative doesn’t mean taking photos. Sometimes you have to stop and take stock of where you are and where you want to go. Priorities change, interests move in new directions.

I’m grateful for the frustrations of various on line media platforms. There is an upside to the current negative Instagram user experience. Rather than chase likes and followers, I’m getting my hands dirty and making stuff. The physical act of creating a piece of art is a joyous way to spend an afternoon.

Much has changed in my life since I started blogging in February of 2014, but the joy of photography has not. I’ve only expand my creative joy to include editing, curating and creating images for presentation.

Shelly

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Tackling the six-headed beast

When Shelly first spoke to me about the concept of the Six Image Narrative during one of our regular video hangouts, I thought, “Cool! I can do that!” Little did I know, that just like being asked “Why”, this would prove to be a bigger challenge than I could’ve predicted.

Maybe I put added pressure on myself, but I wanted six images to tell a story.

“Duh! That’s the whole idea Brett!”

I know! But I wanted them to tell a story without any words.

I’d wrestled with this concept before when I embarked on my first joint exhibition with my friend Christoffer (@east_mountain) last year. Could my photos hung on the gallery walls tell a story without accompanying words? Would they need to be explained? Would I need to be Mr Teacher, or would the visitors to the gallery like the colour red?

As if that wasn’t enough, I also wanted to revisit some old shots. The subject of those shots was IG-88, or Iggy. So as well as attempting to tell a tale in six images, without words, I also wanted to rework old photos, AND I chose a subject with inert legs! “Good one Brett!”

So, that being said, how did I tackle Scylla, this six-headed beast? How did I take on the six image narrative challenge?

Revisit 

Shelly’s suggestion to look back through my work for unconscious threads led to finding a series of photos taken back in 2014 revolving around a LEGO IG-88. This series of melancholy and downheartedness was something I’d also liked, but it was also something I’d always wanted to revisit.

And now I had the “boot up the backside” to do it.

Plan

I’m not one to painstakingly plan my photos.

Sure, I have a general idea of what I want to achieve before I venture out, but that’s about it. I have a rough idea of what the photo should be and what story I want it to portray.

Having to plan six photos that told a story, six photos that created a harmonious narrative was far more work than I’d ever put in before. But to craft a narrative that worked it was crucial. I even sketched out my ideas beforehand to see if the six shaped a coherent story; something I seldom do.

Recreate 

Jennifer’s recent post about recreating old images, together with this month’s G+ challenge (with prizes!) inspired by her reworked images, made me want to take this on after finding my inspiration in my old photos.

Revisiting and recreating past photos not only gave me the chance to fix anything irksome that had bugged me all those years, but also the opportunity to strive for what I couldn’t quite reach with my iPhone back then.

Execute

I wish it were as simple as a step-by-step process.

I was more of a circular process. Revisit. Plan. Recreate. Repeat. And not always in that order either. Sometimes the planning led to revisiting, sometimes the recreation lead back to revisiting, which again led me to planning again. Shots were scrapped, leading to holes in the narrative and demanding the plan to be adapted.

The whole process was adaptive and fluid; it had to be. Weather conspired against me. A long weekend was forgotten about and hordes of visitors crowded “my” beach. Imagined shots didn’t pan out and the story had to bend.

Six Image Narrative

Six Image Narrative

Six Image Narrative

Six Image Narrative

Six Image Narrative

Six Image Narrative

Conclusion

Did I enjoy the challenge of telling a tale in six images? Yes. Is this something that I’ll explore in the future? Yes. Did I learn from the experience? YES!

– Brett

Have you battled with Scylla, the six-headed beast? When you have, be sure to enter your six image narrative into our G+ challenge for your chance to be in the running to win the LEGO Batman Battle Pod polybag. If you haven’t, what are you waiting for?

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Is Toy Photography Going Mainstream?

Call me crazy, but I think our little corner of the internet – the fun corner where all the cool kids hang out with their cameras and their toys – is starting to draw some attention from, dare I say it… the “mainstream.”

Over the last few months, I’ve noticed a lot of toy photography come from sources I wasn’t quite expecting. At the risk of tooting our own horn, I suspect that this awesome community, and most importantly the work of the people in it, have something to do with it!

Continue reading Is Toy Photography Going Mainstream?

Revisiting and Recreating Your Toy Photos

June’s photo challenge in the G+ community, Revisiting and Recreating your Toy Photos, is based on an earlier post by Jennifer. This challenge has me thinking about photos in my archives that I’ve already revisited and recreated.

It seems there’s no shortage of them! So I thought I would share of few of them with you. Continue reading Revisiting and Recreating Your Toy Photos

Breaking up is hard to do

Dear Instagram,

We need to talk. I think it’s time we had a break.

It’s not me, it’s you.

You’ve changed, and I don’t think I can continue in this one-sided, overbearing, controlling relationship anymore.

What happened Instagram? What changed you? Things used to be so good between us. Continue reading Breaking up is hard to do

Selling My Art by zekezachzoom

“Badly made is better than never perfectly made”. I read this somewhere and it was this one phrase that motivated me into trying to sell some prints of my photos.

Prior to that, I had lingering doubts:

What if my photos are not sharp enough? What if the exposure is not correct? What if the composition is not right? I had so many doubts, but decided to take the plunge anyway and hoped at least one person will buy the prints. Continue reading Selling My Art by zekezachzoom

What have you created today?

What have you created today?

I ask myself this question everyday. It might seem like an easy question to answer, but somedays its hard to answer positively. Like you, I have the usual litany of personal responsibilities that accompanying the act of #adulting. I won’t bore you with the details because I’m sure you have a similar list. Yet, with all these responsibilities its important to be able to answer: “Yes, I created something today!”

You and I are similar…we love photography and creativity. I know this because you’re reading this blog. We all have our different reasons for using toys as our subject, but at the core, we’re all creatives. (If you’re not familiar with the many reasons toy photographers use toys, you should check out our “Why?” series!) As a creative, I bet you want to understand and improve your photography.

I know I am. Continue reading What have you created today?

Got Dust? Here’s the Secret Weapon…

“You find me at work; excuse the dust on my blouse. I sculpt my marble myself.”

-Camille Claudel

Oh, dust. How I loathe thee.

As I’m sure is the case not only for many toy photographers, but macro photographers as well, dust can be a formidable opponent, and can even ruin otherwise perfect photos. One missed spec on a minifigure’s shoulder runs the risk of distracting the viewer and drawing unwanted attention.

Of course, the level of dust frustration will vary depending on the photographer and on the viewer. For me, it’s often a deal breaker, causing me to either spend an exorbitant amount of time spot-cleaning the dust in Photoshop or Lightroom, or simply scrapping the initial photos and trying the whole setup again. Continue reading Got Dust? Here’s the Secret Weapon…